Cameron Wolfe’s 2017 NFL draft baller squad

Successful NFL teams and scouts trust their eyes. NFL combine testing, pro days, workouts and visits are all important when researching a draft pick. Still, the most important portion of draft evaluation is the tape.

I’ve looked at a lot of tape in preparing draft previews. Here is a list of my favorite players in the 2017 draft class culminating in what I call my baller squad – 17 draft prospects who stood out on tape. Everyone knows the first-round talents. The players on my list, for the most part, are underrated prospects who will be selected on Day 2 or Day 3.

It’s a subjective group of ballers, guys who may not test well, have great size or limitless potential, but they can flat-out play. These are dudes I’d take on my team. This isn’t every prospect I like that isn’t highly rated but it is a good snapshot, organized by position groups.

cameron-wolfe-and-8217;s-2017-nfl-draft-baller-squad photo 1Wade Payne, The Associated PressAlvin Kamara competes during Tennessee NFL Pro Day on Friday, March 31, 2017, in Knoxville, Tenn.

Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee: Watch his Texas A&M and Vanderbilt tapes to be wowed. Elusive, explosive, versatile. He’s the best of the second-tier running backs and could end up being the best overall in three years.

Projected selection: Second round

Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo: Great vision, elusiveness and open-field cuts from a back with good size? Sign me up. Hunt’s 98 total missed tackles forced were second-most in the nation in 2016, per Pro Football Focus.

Projected selection: Third-fourth round

Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State: He won’t be a lead back at 178 pounds, but he will be an effective weapon as a third-down and receiving back. Being a mini-Darren Sproles is a great compliment.

Projected selection: Fifth-sixth round

cameron-wolfe-and-8217;s-2017-nfl-draft-baller-squad photo 2George Bridges, The Associated PressHouston cornerback Brandon Wilson (26) is cheered by the bench as he returns a missed field goal for a touchdown against Oklahoma in the second half of Houston’s 33-23 victory in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, in Houston.

Brandon Wilson, RB/DB/RET, Houston: Running back, defensive back or returner? Heck, let him do a little of all three. He’s an electric playmaker who will fill multiple roles on game day.

Projected selection: Fifth-sixth round

Zay Zones, WR, East Carolina: He catches everything, finds a way to get open and has a swag about him. He’s the NCAA’s all-time leading receiver. I think he’s going to be a star.

Projected selection: Second round

Ryan Switzer, WR, North Carolina: Switzer may never be more than a high-volume slot receiver, but there’s a good chance he’ll be a real good one. Reliable, quick and a polished route runner.

Projected selection: Third-fourth round

cameron-wolfe-and-8217;s-2017-nfl-draft-baller-squad photo 3Jamie Squire, Getty ImagesTight end O.J. Howard of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates after scoring a 68-yard touchdown during the third quarter against the Clemson Tigers in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium on Jan. 9, 2017 in Tampa, Fla.

O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama: The lone sure-fire first round pick on this baller squad earned his way here. He’ll add a playmaking dimension to his team’s offense quickly.

Projected selection: Top 12

Dion Dawkins, T/G, Temple:  A true ‘buckle-your-chin strap’ linemen. Dawkins could be as good as Alabama’s Cam Robinson, but will be picked a round or two later.

Projected selection: Second-third round

Dorian Johnson, G, Pittsburgh: Most of the players are on the baller squad because they flash. Johnson is here because the players who face him don’t. Ten-year starter.

Projected selection: Second round

Issac Asiata, G, Utah: The Utes’ offensive line was dominant last year, but Asiata epitomizes the group’s nastiness and physicality. Day 1 starter in a power scheme.

Projected selection: Third-fourth round

cameron-wolfe-and-8217;s-2017-nfl-draft-baller-squad photo 4Wesley Hitt, Getty ImagesDalvin Tomlinson #54 of the Alabama Crimson Tide shoves Austin Allen #8 of the Arkansas Razorbacks after throwing a pass at Razorback Stadium on Oct. 8, 2016 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Crimson Tide defeated the Razorbacks 49-30.

Dalvin Tomlinson, DL, Alabama: Hidden among a defense of NFL players, Tomlinson did the dirty work inside. Strong run stuffer with sneaky athleticism.

Projected selection: Second-third round

Jordan Willis, DE/OLB, Kansas State: Has a NFL flavor to his game amongst a draft of raw pass rushers. Balanced enough to be a three-down productive pass rusher and run defender.

Projected selection: Late first-second round

Jalen Reeves-Maybin, LB, Tennessee: It’s rare to find a three-down linebacker who is always around the ball, can cover and play the run well on Day 3. Reeves-Maybin’s injuries will make him a team’s high-risk, high-reward pick.

Projected selection: Fifth-sixth round

cameron-wolfe-and-8217;s-2017-nfl-draft-baller-squad photo 5Andy Cross, The Denver PostColorado Buffaloes defensive back Ahkello Witherspoon (23) breaks up a pass intended for Utah Utes wide receiver Raelon Singleton (11) near the end zone in the third quarter at Folsom Field Nov. 26, 2016. Buffs won 27-22.

Ahkello Witherspoon, CB, Colorado: His teammate, Chidobe Awuzie, could go round one but Witherspoon may have a higher ceiling. He flashes CB1 ability with his length, ball skills and physicality.

Projected selection: Second-third round

Cam Sutton, CB, Tennessee: Injuries derailed the latter part of his career, but Sutton, a four-year starter, has locked down SEC receivers since his freshman season. He can return punts, too.

Projected selection: Third round

Channing Stribling, CB, Michigan: I didn’t intend to watch Stribling’s tape, but he was the player who flashed with every look at a Michigan’s defender. He has the ball skills, instincts and physicality to be a late-round starter.

Projected selection: Fifth-sixth round

Desmond King, CB/S, Iowa:  King doesn’t fit in the NFL’s size and speed preferences. On tape, he was one of the most effective cornerbacks in college football. At safety or corner, that’s a guy I want.

Projected selection: Third round

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